Saturday, September 11, 2010

Growing Business

For many people, New Year’s is a time for reflection, but crafters tend to have another season – craft show season. It begins early in Fall, and lasts up to Christmas. During this time crafters need to be careful not to overbook, but so far, I am planning on 5 multi-day shows from Hallowe’en weekend until Christmas, and during all the weeks in between, I’ll at my usual haunt, The Dartmouth Farmers’  Market. Three of the shows are on back-to-back weekends – eek! I’ll be making a post about the shows later. But now that I am married (August 13) and back from my honeymoon across Canada, I am getting organized and reflecting.

I began crocheting for money about 3 years ago. I was stressed at work, and it was my therapy. The Silver Hook has come a long way. At first I was dependent on patterns, from sites like Crochet Pattern Central, but after being unable to find a pattern for a mermaid, I ventured into designing. As my friend will attest, the first few prototypes were awful!

mermaid (1) mermaid (11) Mira the Mermaid (2)

It has been three years since my first pattern – and I have surprised myself at how quickly I can now design a new toy (except snails – they are the bane of  my designing ability). And patterns are being tweaked all the time.  I am surprised at how my business is doing. My sales are still not as steady or as high as I would like, but I have improved with each year.

After my first Craft Show Season (CSS), I learned so much about displays and which items to sell.

Table setup August 2008 chp craft show (2) SDC11870

In February, the off season, I was contacted by a local store, Carrefour Atlantic Emporium, for wholesale orders. They have been fantastic and loyal clients ever since.

During my second CSS, I participated in more and larger craft shows- 3 to be exact. Unfortunately, this year was the great H1N1 scare and many people avoided crowds. I managed to have profits at each show, but I’ll wait until this year to get a feel of how well I can do. After this CSS, I improved my display (it’s a continuously changing beast). I began a Facebook Business Page, was commissioned for a Science Fiction Convention (contacted through Etsy), and began selling based on consignment at two stores: The Dancing Beaver, and Coco Beans. This past year, I also began selling patterns through Etsy, and learned to use MS Publisher.

 Delia Daisy Little Fairy Pattern drew dragonfly pattern

It is definitely difficult to sell anything handmade (“my grandmother could make that for me for free”), but the signs are encouraging. I wonder what this year will bring!

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